Michael Balling: The Hallé’s Pioneering Pre-War Conductor

Great information and really interesting exploration into the context of pre-war Hallé Concerts Society!

GM 1914

The First World War most commonly evokes scenes of battle. Images of casualties. The home front. The Soldier poets. Poppies. Remembrance Day. And so much more.

What is perhaps rarely shed light on is how truly all-encompassing the effect of this “war to end all wars” was – how it also had a dramatic impact on the lives of people that did not lose family members, or experience the trenches, or work in a munition factory – or were not, in fact, involved in the war in any active capacity at all.

In the case of Michael Balling, German conductor of Manchester’s famous Hallé Orchestra, we find one such example.

Orchestras are often highly international organisations, musicians frequently having to leave their home country in order to find work abroad. The Hallé itself was founded by a German, whose name it bears to this day: Carl Halle from Westphalia, born in 1819 into a…

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